Best Time(s) To Help A Kid Succeed

"[T]here are multiple points during the life of a disadvantaged child when a timely intervention can help hugely," the National Journal reports. "But in an era of slow economic growth and tight budgets, the resources aren't available to help every child at every critical point. This raises a question: Which of these interventions promise the most bang for the buck? Consider the choices. The first point of leverage arrives before birth: An expectant mother's mental and physical health can help avoid a premature delivery, thereby improving the child's chances of learning later. Then, expanding access to high-quality prekindergarten programs can increase a child's odds of entering school with essential skills, ready to learn more. Once they're in school, extending the amount of time children spend in the classroom has been shown to boost students who've fallen behind. Later come the college conundrums—helping disadvantaged students get into college and then complete a useful degree. ... Maricella Perez is hardly the only high schooler in San Antonio in need of practical help in getting to college. 'What we are doing in San Antonio is rolling up our sleeves and getting into the nitty-gritty,' said Eyra Perez (unrelated to Maricella), executive director of San Antonio's Education Partnership. ... One of the nonprofit's projects is Café College, where students can get help in completing applications and can meet with college admissions officers. The project has trained dozens of business owners and financial advisers to help students fill out the federal application for financial aid, which includes pages of complicated questions—boosting by almost 6 percent the number of San Antonio students who completed the forms last year. Students who apply for aid are half again as likely to enroll in college and nearly 75 percent more likely to finish their freshman year, according to an analysis in 2011 by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. The numbers are even higher for low-income students."

NASFAA's "Financial Aid in the News" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.